Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It's back to the cute sleepy jackal picture.  Largely because I haven't slept well in weeks, and I haven't yet found a picture of a jackal contemplating a bottle of Valium.  When I sleep I dream, and when I dream, I dream of reality.  Waking up is confusing.  It begs questions.

When I don't sleep, it's because I'm awake in the darkness staring at the ceiling, listening for the telltale sound.  Cough. Hack. Cough.  He's doing it again.  He's choking.  He can't breathe.  My little boy can't breathe.  I could throw off the covers and go to him, but there's nothing I can do.  I could bundle him into the car to go to the emergency clinic, but in fifteen seconds his fit will pass, and he will breathe again.  So I wait, looking at the ceiling.  Ten...eleven...twelve.  He will stop.  It always stops.  Breathe.  Please.

This is Ace.  He's older now, six, and he's long since gotten that Styrofoam packing peanut off his nose.  A couple of weeks ago he was diagnosed with asthma.  Despite twice daily steroid pills, which he'll be on for the rest of his life, he still coughs.  Deep, wheezing, whistling coughs.  Once he coughed so hard for so long, he fainted.  Just fell over rigid, held a moment, and popped back to his feet like nothing was wrong.  Ace is funny like that; he's so darn happy, and so earnest.  To him, there's no such thing as a bad day.  Even when he's passing out from lack of oxygen.

It could be worse.  It could be FIV.  He could have gotten out, and been run over in the road.  I tell myself this, in the dark, staring at the ceiling.  Thirteen...fourteen...fifteen.  Breathe, honey.  Please.


  1. Jackal, you jackal! You sure fooled me! I thought you were writing about a human kid but I should have known the offspring of a jackal is bound to be furry and four legged --what a cute kitty cat, and I do feel sorry for him and for you. However, you got me so concerned this is what I first wrote:

    "Oh Jackal, I so feel for you! Having your kid sick and not being able to help is such a nightmare..... (my adult daughter is back home with a chronic illness which led to all sorts of complications --it started with acid reflux being misdiagnosed for years and violent coughing fits they thought was asthma....she's now on heavy duty cortisone which among many other side effects plays havoc on her physical appearance....)

    Please hang in there. Look for interstices of happiness in between the anguish and worry and pain. Also I heard sometimes kids get over childhood asthma when they grow up. I don't know if that's the kind of asthma your son has, but don't give up hope. There might also be newer more effective treatments or even a cure on the horizon.... "

    All that for a cat! Oh well, our pets are worth it....

  2. He's a cutie, Jackal, even sans proboscis-hitching packing peanut pieces, I'm positive! ;-) Hang in there. As you say, sometimes there really is nothing we can do save be strong for our loved ones.